Teacher: Alright, who wants to see a volcano? 3..2..1…
Students: Whoa…..! *collective gasp*
Teacher: Look at that lava, look at that smoke coming out of that..
We are not on a field trip to Mount Fuji. Nor we are in the magical world of Harry Potter where pictures move and brooms fly. We are in a classroom full of students who are learning about active volcanoes in the world. Wondering how?
Thanks to Augmented Reality (AR), students are now learning in an interactive and creative manner. You no longer have to take them to museums to show skeletons of dinosaurs. You no longer have to worry about explaining how tornadoes are different from hurricanes.
Augmented Reality is changing the way we are interacting with the world. With a tap on the mobile phone you can now unravel things which are not visible to human eye. You can learn more about chromosomes and DNAs instead of reading or watching a video about it. You can watch everyday things come to life with 3D pictures. AR is the digital view of the real world.
How is Augmented Reality different from Virtual Reality?
Point your smart device’s camera at something that the app recognizes, and it will superimpose a 3D figure on your camera’s screen. Augmented Reality blends the physical world with the technology and presents the reality in your environment.
Virtual Reality is AR’s first cousin. VR transports you in another world. VR creates a virtual environment and is presented to our senses in such a manner that we experience it as if we are a part of that environment. VR replaces the real world with computer-generated imagery. So if VR can take you anywhere then AR can bring you anything.
For example- with VR you can visit any tourist spot in the world. The Louvre or Eiffel Tower. Or Golden gate bridge. But in real life if you are travelling by car then AR will add its intelligence and present a computer-generated image in front of you. AR could lead you to the place by showing digital signages all the way till you reach your destination.
How Augmented Reality can help in classrooms?
Technology has given us numerous solutions to complex problems. But when it comes to education, we don’t need solutions. We need children to analyze and understand, we need them to understand what works, what doesn’t works and how it works. This is where Augmented Reality can play its part-
More interactive than traditional classroom teaching methods
What is more difficult- teaching about the molecular structure of benzene or anatomy of human body? Well, I bet both are equally complex. Now imagine presenting a 3D model of human body in your classroom.
Concepts like the human digestive system or human neural system, are fairly theoretical. With AR they become much easier to understand and grasp. That’s how you bring that ‘Aha!’ moment into your teaching. Also, learning and reading from book is a thing of past. AR can make the classroom more fun, interactive and flexible.
More engaging and closer to reality
Benjamin Franklin once said- “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
His words still hold importance in the 21st century. As the digital world grows, the challenge of keeping students engaged is still a problem.
AR bridges that gap. AR brings students closer to reality. They can experience and explore the world with a touch of hand. It improves children´s interactive and communication skills. The child learns to collaborate with fellow classmates.
Accessible from remote locations
There are still parts of world where education for children is still a distant dream. With lack of infrastructure and other facilities, it becomes difficult to teach students, let alone engage them. But with Google’s AR kit, all you need is a class full of students and some glasses. The devices are portable and unlike spending on physical learning material, it’s just one time investment.
You can take them to field trips right from the classroom. You can visit the White House, the ancient pyramids of Egypt, the caves of Ajanta & Ellora, the Great Barrier Reef, or even go back in past and show them how the first man landed on Moon. There is so much more that you can do with AR, all within the scope of your classroom.
Makes students more responsible and independent
We know that there is satisfaction in accomplishment. When students start learning a new subject, they come across a lot many things. The learning process rewards them with failure as well as success. Because AR applications are fun and interactive, children find it relatively easy to learn and take challenges. For this reason, it’s easier for every student to learn at their own pace. This increases satisfaction and boost their morale.
Stimulate creativity and curiosity
A child’s mind is like a wet clay. You can give it any shape. They are like a clean slate. Everything that they hear and see is going to leave an impression on their mind. They are curious, they are energetic, they see the world with fresh eyes. So it’s important that you provide the right resources they need for being creative.
Incorporating AR into your classroom will make students excited about subjects that are boring. Born in the digital era, your students will be continuously stimulated to explore and interact. They will be excited by new ideas and think critically about the world around them. They will question their surroundings, they will find new ideas to fix old ways. AR is the way where you can rest assured that children are concerned more about the process rather than results.
Technology is like a tree with a thousand of apples, some sweet and some foul. It’s up to us which ones we want to use to our advantage. In the past, what we saw in fantasy-fiction movies is now a part of our reality. Augmented reality is the buzz term in education industry and it’s not just a passing fad. It is going to stay as much as any other virtual platform. And why not? Learning platforms need to take a major leap. It is changing the way we see, imagine and learn about the world around us.
Moreover, AR not only changes the learning environment of children but it also ignites their mind to further explore the world around them. We are not very far when the so-called difference between AR learning modules and conventional educational methods will be blurred.